James recommends Mystery Team, the little-seen feature from Derrick Comedy.
Each week we here are The MacGuffin Men try to recommend something that we feel may have been underappreciated. Sometimes it’s a movie from a major studio that may have been marketed poorly, or maybe negative reviews at the time scared away moviegoers who would actually like the movie. This week I’m going to recommend a movie that wasn’t even lucky enough for either of those scenarios. The movie is called Mystery Team, it opened on one screen and made less than $100,000.
Mystery Team stars and is written by the Internet sketch comedy group Derrick Comedy. If you aren’t familiar with the group, you may be familiar with one if its member, Donald Glover. He currently playsTroyon NBC’s Community, and despite popular rumour, is not related to Danny Glover. While the movie is a cohesive narrative, it does have something of a sketch comedy feel. Glover, who is clearly and deservedly the star of the film, plays a character who is forced to disguise himself as several different, non-existent people. This gives the movie many set-pieces and allows Glover to his use trademark overconfidence followed by absolute terror and devastation. I know I’ve mentioned it before but there is no way Glover doesn’t make it inHollywoodand this movie might end up being the first substantial piece that showed this was inevitable.
The plot of the film involves Glover and his 2 friends acting as their own detective agency in their town. Their agency is more like Encyclopedia Brown, Nate the Great and other children’s detective agencies than realistic private investigators. They did it as kids and now that they’re in their last year of high school, people don’t find the act cute anymore. When there is a murder in the town, they are approached to solve it and see this as a chance to bet taken more seriously. However, their experience solving hopscotch disputes and sack lunch fraud doesn’t help them out much as they come across drug addicts, hitmen, strippers and drug dealers. While their journey to grow up as people parallels their desire to move onto more serious crimes, they don’t lean on these metaphors too much and are much more concerned with comedy than the emotion. There is one surprisingly well-written and shot emotional scene (at the baseball diamond), the movie doesn’t try to be more than it is and knows it their to make you laugh
Donald Glover wrote for 30 Rock and Derrick Comedy was doing its thing on the Internet for a long time, so they use this bring some other comic actors you’d recognize from NBC and YouTube into the picture. We getAubreyPlazaand Ben Schwartz (Parks and Rec.), Kevin Brown and John Lutz (Dotcom and constant loser Lutz from 30 Rock), Kay Cannon (30 Rock writer and producer/ex-wife of Jason Sudeikis), Bobby Moynahan (SNL), Ellie Kemper (The Office) and Gregory Burke from Internet sketch group Greg and Lou. They are not short of acting talent in this movie, and the writing keeps up. It is not a brilliant, ground-breaking comedy in any way, but is an unpretentious, silly, raunchy and hilarious movie that you should see if you’re looking a mindless but supremely entertaining movie.